Though we know that salvation for our soul lies within us, we try to find it outside. From time immemorial, human beings have tried to follow one or the other religious leader on the path to salvation. Several formulas were given by gurus/babas which were tried by gullible people. But with changing times, babas are also changing. In these days of information technology, you don't have to run to the cave of some hideous baba or go to the ashram of a religious person. All the advice you need gets transferred to your phone from WhatsApp baba.
Who is this WhatsApp Baba and from where has he come? WhatsApp, the smarter cousin of Facebook, started as a socialising site. It was meant to share information about our friends and relatives, to have serious or not-so-serious discussions on day-to-day topics. However, taking advantage of its reach and it being free of cost, many users have turned WhatsApp babas who give free advice to others.
They start in the morning by sending you morning shlokas along with a sweet good morning. Then they start sending you messages which they have copied from other groups like five things to adore, five things to hate, five things to worship, five things to avoid.
They send several such thought-provoking messages, which they themselves may not have read fully. How to lead a healthy life? What to eat and what not to eat? They even have suggestions on how to handle your life partner, children, parents, boss, friend and neighbour.
During the day we are flooded with an avalanche of messages from Whatsapp baba and start ignoring longish messages. Sometimes quite interesting and thoughtful messages get ignored too.
Then there are sayings of great thinkers and world leaders decorated with smileys and flowers. Sometimes there is a forwarded message about miracle of some devi or guru which we are asked to forward to other groups to gain kirpa or be ready to suffer for the rest of our lives.
These babas turn love gurus too and give endless advice on love, relationship and marriage. In fact, they have a solution to every problem.
These messages get repeated so many times that we can instantly recall the contents of the message and still these babas have the audacity to write, "Market mein naya hai, please read and share." Even after so much sharing of knowledge and good thoughts we don't feel wiser at the end of the day.
I hope the Gen Next will not need any other soul guide as they will have their Whatsapp baba giving them advice on each and every aspect of their lives. firstname.lastname@example.org
(The writer is a Ludhiana-based doctor.)